‘Dr Mama’s abortion al­most killed me’

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Welling­ton Mak­wakwa

IL­LE­GAL abortion clin­ics are mush­room­ing from ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try, ev­ery day.

It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to walk around in any town with­out see­ing no­tices on street poles or hav­ing peo­ple hand­ing out ad­ver­tis­ing pam­phlets on get­ting ‘fast and safe’ abor­tions.

These abortion clin­ics reg­u­larly pro­mote be­ing able to ter­mi­nate at any stage of the preg­nancy.

Young and dis­tressed girls in des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions, mostly try­ing to pre­vent their un­planned preg­nancy from be­ing known to their par­ents, of­ten fall into these death traps, and some­times lose their lives at those un­ster­ilised en­vi­ron­ments.

Nokubonga* (23) of eSikhaleni be­came preg­nant when she was 18-years-old while do­ing her Grade 12.

Faced with the real­ity of dis­ap­point­ing her par­ents, fright­ened, con­fused and with no so­lu­tions, for her, the easy way out was through a lo­cal street abortion clinic.

‘I fell preg­nant by mis­take and I had no way out. I was ashamed to go to a proper clinic be­cause they al­ways ask ques­tions and want to find out the whole his­tory and some­times con­tact your par­ents. I was not pre­pared for all that.

‘All I wanted was to get the baby out of me be­fore I showed any signs of preg­nancy. I was afraid my fa­ther would be dis­ap­pointed and dis­own me.

‘While walk­ing with a friend of mine we saw a Dr Mama’s poster on the street. It said safe, easy and pain free.

‘For weeks I saved my al­lowance and lunch money to raise the R400 consultation fee,’ said Nokubonga.

‘I was al­most ten weeks when I vis­ited Dr Mama in her rooms in cen­tral Em­pan­geni and she as­sured me ev­ery­thing was fine.

‘Even though the rooms looked dodgy and had an aw­ful adour, none of that mat­tered. I was pre­pared to go through ev­ery­thing.

‘A huge lady came in and gave me a small con­coc­tion be­fore ask­ing me to un­dress. Soon I was asked to spread my legs and a long tube was in­serted in­side me.

‘Af­ter she had done, she gave me a tablet to take when I got home. I felt nor­mal and ar­rived home with no prob­lems, took the pill and went to bed,’ she said.

Ac­cord­ing to Nokubonga, when she woke up from her nap, that’s when she started ex­pe­ri­enc­ing se­vere ab­dom­i­nal and pelvic pains with heavy bleed­ing.

‘I took some pain killers hop­ing I will feel bet­ter but the pain es­ca­lated.

‘The next day I couldn’t walk and was in a worse state and still bleed­ing.

‘I thought I was go­ing to die and that’s when I de­cided to tell my mother ev­ery­thing. She rushed me to our fam­ily doc­tor then to the hos­pi­tal.

‘The doc­tor told me the pro­ce­dure had dam­aged me in­ter­nally and the pipe in­serted in­side me was un­ster­ilised, which caused com­pli­ca­tions.

‘I was so lucky I was treated for ev­ery­thing in time. Ac­cord­ing to the doc­tor if I had stayed an­other day with­out see­ing him I would have lost my life or would never have been able to con­ceive again,’ she ex­plained.

Nokubonga is now a sec­ond year ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent who learned from her mis­takes and now wishes to warn other des­per­ate girls about back­streets abor­tions.

Her story might have had a happy end­ing, but Dr Mama’s are all over the coun­try and prey­ing on naïve, des­per­ate girls look­ing for an easy way out.

LE­GAL VS IL­LE­GAL

Spot an il­le­gal abortion clinic:

• It does not op­er­ate from a clinic and has no phys­i­cal ad­dress. It only has a cell phone num­ber.

• The doc­tor of­ten calls him­self doc­tor, but has no rel­e­vant qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

• It only de­liv­ers or sells pills.

• It does not ex­am­ine pa­tients or give proper check-ups

How to spot a le­gal abortion clinic:

It op­er­ates from a clinic with a phys­i­cal ad­dress and has a land­line.

• The clinic is staffed by qual­i­fied doc­tors and nurses of­ten wear­ing uni­forms.

• It is equipped to do sonars and of­fers med­i­cal and sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dures.

• When you visit the clinic they per­form an ex­am­i­na­tion and of­fer coun­selling be­fore any pro­ce­dure is per­formed. Do you want to tell your tale in our ‘My Story’ fea­ture with the ob­jec­tive of rais­ing aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing of dif­fer­ent life ex­pe­ri­ences? Email zu­[email protected]

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